A video of a woman comparing efforts to stomp out bullying in our nation's schools to "turning boys into girls" is disturbing Americans today because it comes from Michele Bachmann, candidate for president and Congresswoman representing Minnesota. But that's not the real problem. Americans should be upset because it comes from a mother, and it's evidence that there are still parents in America who believe that teaching their sons kindness and diplomacy is tantamount to labeling them as wimps and sissies.
Where are these neanderthals? Besides Congress, they're living in towns across America, where you still hear Moms and Dads refusing to address bullying with their boys. From the parents of the bullies, you hear comments like "that queer asked for it," as in the case of a 17-year-old boy currently on trial in California for shooting a 15-year-old classmate. His lawyers are trying the so-called "gay panic defense," claiming that Brandon McInerney was provoked to kill Lawrence King because King was flirting with him.
Just as dangerous, we've got the parental response to the boys who are actively being bullied. We've seen a rash of boys being encouraged to fight their bullies because, well, that's the "manly" way to deal with things.
And we wonder why 160,000 kids stay home from school every day out of fear of being bullied? Why as much as 77 percent of our kids report they were bullied? This is why it's more than a teehee, look at the controversial candidate once again making a fool of herself issue. It's a serious parenting one. Because bullies not dealt with beget tragedy.
As Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast (who pulled up this five-year-old gem from Bachmann's past) points out, in Bachmann's district, where she ostensibly represents the values of the average parent -- after all, they voted for her -- schools are suffering what's been termed a mental health crisis. Teen suicides are spiking.
Now consider teen victims of bullying are as much as nine times more likely than their peers to consider suicide, if not act on it. One British study even estimates that as much as half of teen suicides were caused by bullying. If parents are still more scared of turning their sons into girls than of losing our kids to suicide, we've got a long way to go in America.
Check out Michele Bachmann's statement and tell us if you agree with her:
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